Garrett hired as assistant, could still be head coach

The Cowboys have hired Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach Jason Garrett as their offensive coordinator, and he remains a candidate for Dallas' vacant head coaching position, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Thursday.

The Cowboys confirmed the move Thursday night.

The Cowboys said Garrett's responsibilities and title won't be determined until the head coaching search is complete. The most likely scenario, however, is that Garrett will become the offensive coordinator if he's not the head coach.

"The nature and timing of this hire is unique in that we were dealing with a limited window of time in which to talk to Jason about returning to Dallas," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement.

The Dolphins gave Dallas permission to talk to Garrett, 40, but also told the former quarterback that he had to decide by Thursday if he was going to sign a contract extension. That deadline passed with Garrett still in Texas.

"Jason is someone who is held in high regard s a bright offensive mind throughout the NFL,'' Jones said. "We are grateful to the Dolphins for granting the Cowboys permission to explore this opportunity. Jason will now proceed further in our head coaching search as an in-house candidate."

A source told ESPN's Ed Werder on Wednesday night that team owner Jerry Jones considers Garrett, a former backup to quarterback Troy Aikman, to be one of the most promising offensive coaches in the league and was so determined to bring him back to the Cowboys organization that he would have been added to Bill Parcells' staff had Parcells decided to coach the final year of his contract.

Instead, Parcells stepped down Monday after four seasons with the Cowboys, ending a 19-year coaching tenure that included two Super Bowl champoinships with the New York Giants.

In his first public comments since announcing his retirement, Parcells told New York station WFAN on Thursday that Jones has asked him to remain with the organization for another week to help in the transition of a new head coach. That is, assuming Jones hires one within that period.

San Diego defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the former head coach at Denver and Buffalo who also had interim stints in New Orleans and Atlanta, is scheduled to interview Friday about the head coaching vacancy.

The Cowboys also plan to talk to San Francisco offensive coordinator Norv Turner, a former head coach, and New Orleans defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs. Both are former Dallas assistants. It wasn't clear when those interviews would take place, but Turner is coaching the Senior Bowl on Saturday.

Garrett spent the last two seasons coaching Miami's quarterbacks. He played for the Cowboys from 1993-99, appearing in 23 games with nine starts. He also played for the Giants, Tampa Bay and Miami. Garrett retired in 2004.

Garrett's father, Jim, was a longtime scout for the Cowboys.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.